Lunch in Sarasota: Who's at the Top of Their Game Lately?
Bostonian stopping through Sarasota next week to visit brother, which I do about once or twice a year.
Normally, I drag him out to all the restaurants on the Sarasota hit parade. But this time, I only have time for a nice lunch out while I'm in town. Something celebratory and nice would be great, but not fancy-food-for-fanciness'-sake. Or just excellent food at a restaurant that feels like it's currently on its A-game. If nothing else, I'd go for an open-for-lunch steakhouse that sources good beef and broils/grills it the right way.
A few places we've gone in the past (mostly for dinner, obv):
Derek's Culinary Casual
Crab & Fin
Curious about that place that used to be Zoria's, Main Street Oyster Bar.
1345 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
Crab & Fin
420 Saint Armands Cir, Sarasota, FL 34236
5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228
1377 Main Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
The Columbia in Sarasota is fine for chicken and yellow rice as well as Ropa Vieja. The "imported ingredient" Sangria is also very good. If you have not been to the original in Ybor City (Tampa's old cigar making district); The tiled bar area is a bit of Old Tampa architecture. At lunch, the main dining room is packed, so make a reservation.
Zoria closed long ago.
Main Street Oyster Bar has also closed but Arthur and Ryan have recently opened a new place which I haven't been to yet but have heard good things.
You may want to take him to Michael's on East.
It's been awarded best place for a power lunch for many years. There's a filet mignon on the lunch menu but you could probably twist Michael's arm to fire up a NY Strip from the dinner menu. They're very proud of their steaks...among other creative items.
Hope you enjoy your visit!
Michael's on East
1212 East Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34239
Libby's Cafe and Bar is outstanding (and has a lunch menu as imaginative as their dinner menu). Went there last Tuesday for the first time and can't wait to go back! Their Cauliflower fritter appetizer with truffle honey and short rib burger knocked my socks off. www.libbyscafebar.com/menu.htm
I think Columbia is a nice choice for out-of towners. The Sarasota outpost has satisfied me the least of those I've tried (Ybor, St. Augustine, Bellaire Beach and Downtown St. Pete), but it still has some merit.
When I drive to Sarasota, I drive to Cafe L'Europe on St. Armand's Circle. They have some naysayers here, too...but their food and service are always top-notch in my book, and that plus the charming venue always makes me feel as if I'm actually back in sidewalk cafe in Paris, Barcelona or Florence. Very authentic.